Neverwinter is taking a hard look at its PvP game with the next update. To make improvements, they are adding three big new things: new PvP gear, better matchmaking with penalties for leaving matches early, and a new stat: Tenacity.
Matchmaking will now be based on relative skill ratings. According to this announcement:
PvP Domination matches will be created using an ELO-like skill rating. Your skill rating will increase as win matches and decrease as you lose matches. If you win a match against players with much higher skill ratings, you will gain more points than if you had won against players with much lower skill ratings. Similarly, if you lose against players with much higher skill values, you will lose very few points compared to if you had lost against players with much lower skill values than yourself. The skill rating system also takes into consideration your teammates when determining your new skill rating after a match.
The PvP Domination queue attempts to match you with other players that are at a similar skill rating. As a result, queuing times for PvP Domination may be longer than you are used to, especially when the queue population is low. Even at low populations, however, the new queue times should be minimal as long as there are enough players in the queue to play.
To prevent players from bailing on matches and screwing over their teammates, a new penalty system will be enforced. Players ditching a match before it's over will not be able to queue for any queueable content, including PvE dungeons and skirmishes.
The new gear looks pretty slick. Players will be able to purchase it from the Trade of Blades in Protector's Enclave.
It seems likely that the new gear will incorporate the new Tenacity stat. Tenacity is a stackable resistance stat that applies to PvP only. It increases resistance to damage and reduces the amount of time a character might spend stun-locked. This is something like how Expertise works in SWTOR, but since PvP match-ups will be based on skill, it shouldn't create a massively-steep ramp for new players just getting into late-game PvP, which is what Expertise did in SWTOR's endgame PvP. Theoretically, low-rated nooblets with no or very little Tenacity should get matched up with other low-rated players, and the guys with maxed-out Tenacity can duke it out amongst each other.
Executive Producer Rob Overmeyer discusses these topics in Neverwinter's State of the Game video:
No word yet on a launch date for this update, but they're promising "soon."